Congratulations to the People of Thailand

December 3, 2016

Congratulations to the People of Thailand

by AFP

Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn becomes Rama X of Thailand’s Chakri Dynasty, but will not formally be crowned until after his father’s cremation, which is expected next year.


Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn became the King of Thailand late Thursday, opening a new chapter for the powerful monarchy in a country still mourning the death of his father.

The 64-year-old Prince inherits one of the world’s richest monarchies as well as a politically febrile nation, 50 days after King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death.

After weeks of complex palace protocols the Prince was invited by the head of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to ascend the throne in an event broadcast on all Thai television channels.

“I agree to accept the wishes of the late King… for the benefit of the entire Thai people,” said Vajiralongkorn, wearing an official white tunic decorated with medals and a pink sash.

The sombre, ritual-heavy ceremony at his Bangkok palace was attended by the Chief of the NLA, junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha, and the powerful 96-year-old head of the privy council, Prem Tinsulanonda.

Red-jacketed courtiers looked on as a palace staff member, shuffling on his knees, presented the new King with a microphone through which he delivered his few words of acceptance.

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His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn then prostrated himself, hands pressed together in respect, to a small shrine topped by a picture of his father and mother —Her Majesty Queen Sirikit Kitiyakara.

He becomes Rama X of Thailand’s Chakri dynasty, but will not formally be crowned until after his father’s cremation, which is expected next year.

Bhumibol’s reign, which ended on October 13, spanned a tumultuous period of Thai history pockmarked by a communist insurgency, coups and street protests.

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It also saw breakneck development which has resulted in a huge wealth disparity between a Bangkok-centric elite and the rural poor.To many Thais, Bhumibol was the only consistent force in a politically combustible country, his image burnished by ritual and shielded by a harsh royal defamation law.

The United States offered its congratulations to the new King, saying it looked forward to strengthening ties with Thailand. “We offer our best wishes to his majesty and all of the Thai people,” the State Department said.

“His father, King Bhumibol, ruled the Kingdom of Thailand with vision and compassion for 70 years and was a great friend of the United States. The United States and Thailand enjoy a longstanding, strong, and multifaceted bilateral relationship, and we look forward to deepening that relationship and strengthening the bonds between our two countries and peoples going forward.”

Into the limelight

Monks chanted blessings at Buddhist temples to mark the new monarch’s ascension — an era-defining moment for most Thais who for seven decades knew only Bhumibol as their King.

His Majesty Vajiralongkorn does not yet enjoy the same level of popularity.He spends much of his time outside of the public eye, particularly in southern Germany where he owns property.

He has had three high-profile divorces, while a recent police corruption scandal linked to the family of his previous wife allowed the public a rare glimpse of palace affairs.

Thursday’s ascension ends a period of uncertainty since Bhumibol’s death prompted by the Prince’s request to delay his official proclamation so he could mourn with the Thai people.

Thailand’s constitutional monarchy has limited formal powers but it draws the loyalty of much of the kingdom’s business elite as well as a military that dominates politics through its regular coups.

Analysts say  His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn, untested until now, will have to manage competing military cliques.

In a brief televised address after the ceremony, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who as army chief led the 2014 coup, praised the new King “as the head of the Thai state and heart of the Thai people.”

The Thai monarchy is protected from criticism by one of the world’s strictest lese majeste laws, carrying up to 15 years in jail for every charge of defaming the King, Queen, heir or regent.

That law makes open discussion about the Royal Family’s role all but impossible inside the Kingdom and means all media based inside the country routinely self-censor. Convictions for so-called “112” offences — named after its criminal code — have skyrocketed since the Generals seized power in 2014.

Experts say most have targeted the junta’s political opponents, many of whom support the toppled civilian government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

The emergence of Yingluck’s brother Thaksin in 2001, a vote-winning billionaire seen by many of the rural poor as their champion, prompted the recent round of political conflict. The army and royalist establishment have toppled two governments led by the siblings, accusing them of nepotism and corruption.


Happy 200th Birthday Penang Free School: Fortis Atque Fidelis

October 21, 2016

Happy 200th Birthday Penang Free School: Fortis Atque Fidelis

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The PFS Class of 1959 and I offer our sincere congratulations on the occasion of the 200th Anniversary of the founding on October 21, 1816 of our alma mater today. Owing to heavy commitments at The University of Cambodia in Phnom Penh, I am unable to be with you in Green Lane to join the celebrations.

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I was indeed fortunate to have been an Old Boy of the School, which gave me a good beginning and for that I thank my teachers, many of whom have passed on, for their hard work and dedication, in particular our Headmaster John Michael Hughes, and his colleagues Howe, Davies and Williams, Captain Mohamed Noor, Ambrose, Ong Poh Kee

I am also privileged to have made some wonderful and kind friends like Lim Say Chong, Sheriff Kassim, Kadir Sulaiman, Muthulingam, Goh Thong Beng,  the Din Brothers (Rahim and Zainuddin), Ali Ibrahim,  the late Anis Isa, Loo Quek Shin, Zain Yusuff, Khoo Soo Ghim and Khoo Soo Ghee (not brothers) and many others .

I thank these guys for making life at the PFS unforgettable. It has been great fun and that’s what life is about (to quote Bing Crosby). Here’s to you, guys.–Din Merican

Memorial held for Founder of 200 year-old Penang Free School

By Balvin Kaur- 21 October 2016 @ 9:39 AM

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A memorial ceremony in honour of Reverend Robert Sparke Hutchings, the founder of the 200 year-old Penang Free School (PFS), was held at the Protestant Cemetery in Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah here today. The event was attended by around 130 people, including PFS students, teachers and alumni, who took turns laying wreaths at Hutchings’ final resting place, which is marked with a marble tombstone with an epitaph that reads ‘Founder of Penang Free School 21 October 1816.’ The service was conducted by Bishop Charles Samuel and assisted by Reverend Ho Kong Eng, who is also an alumnus the school.

Alumnus Ho Chu Hor, 38, said the commemoration is held annually in conjunction with the school’s anniversary. However, he said, it is grander this year, as it is the school’s 200th anniversary. Ho said it was important to honour Hutchings, who had played a key role in improving education standards in Penang.
Hutchings was born in 1782 and died in 1827, aged 45. He founded the school, which was the first English-medium institution in Southeast Asia at the time, on October 21, 1816. The school was initially located at Lebuh Farquhar here, but was moved to the present location in Jalan Masjid Negeri.
(File pix) Former students of Penang Free School going through an exhibition on the school’s history.

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A memorial ceremony in honour of Reverend Robert Sparke Hutchings, founder of the 200 year-old Penang Free School (PFS) in 1966. It is held on October 21 annually.

The Squirrel and the Bird

I find this cute–The Squirrel and the Bird

Simple things makes me happy because they teach me to appreciate God’s Earth. They do not cost money yet they make us appreciate the richness of life, but  only if we can put our egos (that sense of inferiority that makes us lie and cheat) aside.–Din Merican

Zahid Hamidi speaks Malglish at United Nations and embarrasses Malaysia

September 28, 2016

Zahid Hamidi speaks Malglish at United Nations–This is Our Prime Minister in Waiting

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He spoke Malglish at the UNGA and embarrasses Malaysia

Our Prime Minister in Waiting, Dr. Zahid Hamidi thinks he is God’s gift to our country. He is too arrogant to admit that he cannot speak Oxford English like Singapore’s erudite Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong.He is a bumbling village idiot. His boss, Najib Razak speaks well, but he is a crook. Language certainly matters, but integrity and character more.

Young Cambodians at The University of Cambodia’s English Language School can show Zahid how to speak English and speak before an audience. I suggest that he should come to our language school in Phnom Penh on a 3-month sabbatical to improve his English-speaking and writing skills. My colleague, Brenden Leks, can turn him from an ugly duck into a swan in a very short time.

This is the trouble with people who are too arrogant to learn. They end up making fools of themselves in public.

Zahid Hamidi who has a doctorate from one of the Malaysian universities–that speaks volume about the quality of Malaysian education system– should have opted to speak in Malay at the  United Nations which has qualified translators on its staff. In stead, he opted to embarrass Malaysia. If he is what Malaysia has to offer as Prime Minister, God Helps us. –Din Merican